T H E  P O E M S  O F

W I L F R E D
C A M P B E L L



 


Poems of the Affections
 

 



Beyond the Hills of Dream


OVER the mountains of sleep, my Love,
     Over the hills of dream,
Beyond the walls of care and fate,
     Where the loves and memories teem;
We come to a world of fancy free,

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     Where hearts forget to weep;—
Over the mountains of dream, my Love,
     Over the hills of sleep.

Over the hills of care, my Love,
     Over the mountains of dread,

10

We come to a valley, glad and vast,
     Where we meet the long-lost dead:
And there the gods in splendor dwell,
     In a land where all is fair,
Over the mountains of dread, my Love,

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     Over the hills of care.

Over the mountains of dream, my Love,
     Over the hills of sleep;—
Could we but come to that heart’s desire,
     Where the harvests of fancy reap,

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Then we would know the old joys and hopes,
     The longings of youth’s bright gleam,
Over the mountains of sleep, my Love,
     Over the hills of dream.

Yea, there the sweet old years have rest,

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     And there my heart would be,
Amid the glad ones loved of yore,
     At the sign of the Fancy Free;  [Page 189]
And there the old lips would repeat
     Earth’s memories o’er and o’er,

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Over the mountains of might-have-been,
     Over the hills of yore.

Unto that valley of dreams, my Love,
     If we could only go,
Beyond the mountains of heart’s despair,

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     The hills of winter and snow,
Then we would come to those happy isles,
     Those shores of blossom and wing,
Over the mountains of waiting, my Love,
     Over the hills of spring.

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And there where the woods are scarlet and gold,
     And the apples are red on the tree,
The heart of autumn is never old
     In that country where we would be.
And how would we come to that land, my Love?

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     Follow the midnight stars,
That swim and gleam in a milk-white stream,
     Over the night’s white bars.

Or follow the trail of the sunset red
     That beacons the dying deeps

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Of day’s wild borders down the edge
     Of silence, where evening sleeps;
Or take the road that the morning wakes,
     When he whitens his first rosebeam,
Over the mountains of glory, my Love,

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     Over the hills of dream.

Sometime, sometime, we will go, my Love,
     When winter loosens to spring,
And all the spirits of Joy are ajog,
     After the wild-bird’s wing,—  [Page 190]

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When winter and sorrow have opened their doors
     To set love’s prisoners free,
Over the mountains of woe, my Love,
     Over the hills of dree.

And when we reach there we will know

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     The faces we knew of yore,
The lips that kissed, the hands that clasped,
     When memory loosens her store;
And we will drink to the long dead years,
     In that inn of the golden gleam,

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Over the mountains of sleep, my Love,
     Over the hills of dream.

And all the joys we missed, my Love,
     And all the hopes we knew,
The dreams of life we dreamed in vain,

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     When youth’s red blossoms blew;
And all the hearts that throbbed for us,
     In the past so sunny and fair,
We will meet and greet in that golden land,
     Over the hills of care.

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Over the mountains of sleep, my Love,
     Over the hills of dream,
Beyond the walls of care and fate,
     Where the loves and memories teem,
We come to a land of fancy free,

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     Where hearts forget to weep,
Over the mountains of dream, my Love,
     Over the hills of sleep.  [Page 191]

 



Love


LOVE came at dawn when all the world was fair,
     When crimson glories, bloom, and song were rife;
Love came at dawn when hope’s wings fanned the air,
     And murmured, “I am life.”

Love came at even when the day was done,

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     When heart and brain were tired, and slumber pressed;
Love came at eve, shut out the sinking sun,
     And whispered, “I am rest.”

 



Afterglow


AFTER the clangor of battle
There comes a moment of rest,
And the simple hopes and the simple joys
And the simple thoughts are best.

After the victor’s pæan,

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After the thunder of gun,
There comes a lull that must come to all
Before the set of the sun.

Then what is the happiest memory?
Is it the foe’s defeat?

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Is it the splendid praise of a world
That thunders by at your feet?  [Page 192]

Nay, nay, to the life-worn spirit
The happiest thoughts are those
That carry us back to the simple joys

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And the sweetness of life’s repose.

A simple love and a simple trust
And a simple duty done,
Are truer torches to light to death
Than a whole world’s victories won.

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Out of Pompeii


SHE lay, face downward, on her bended arm,
     In this her new, sweet dream of human bliss,
Her heart within her fearful, fluttering, warm,
     Her lips yet pained with love’s first timorous kiss.
She did not note the darkening afternoon,

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     She did not mark the lowering of the sky
O’er that great city.  Earth had given its boon
     Unto her lips, love touched her and passed by.

In one dread moment all the sky grew dark,
     The hideous rain, the panic, the red rout,

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Where love lost love, and all the world might mark
     The city overwhelmed, blotted out
Without one cry, so quick oblivion came,
     And life passed to the black where all forget;
But she—we know not of her house or name—

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     In love’s sweet musings doth lie dreaming yet.

The dread hell passed, the ruined world grew still,
     And the great city passed to nothingness:
The ages went and mankind worked its will.
     Then men stood still amid the centuries’ press,  [Page 193]

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And in the ash-hid ruins opened bare,
     As she lay down in her shamed loveliness,
Sculptured and frozen, late they found her there,
     Image of love ’mid all that hideousness.

Her head, face downward, on her bended arm,

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     Her single robe that showed her shapely form,
Her wondrous fate love keeps divinely warm
     Over the centuries, past the slaying storm;
The heart can read in writings time hath left,
     That linger still through death’s oblivion;

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And in this waste of life and light bereft,
     She brings again a beauty that had gone.

And if there be a day when all shall wake,
     As dreams the hoping, doubting human heart,
The dim forgetfulness of death will break

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     For her as one who sleeps with lips apart;
And did God call her suddenly, I know
     She’d wake as morning wakened by the thrush,
Feel that red kiss across the centuries glow,
     And make all heaven rosier by her blush.

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Harvest Slumber Song


SLEEP, little baby, sleep, sleep, sleep,
Red is the moon in the night’s still deep,
White are the stars with their silver wings
Folded in dreamings of beautiful things,
And over their cradle the night wind sings,

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Sleep, little baby, sleep, sleep, sleep.

Soft in the lap of the mother night
The wee baby stars, all glowing and bright,  [Page 194]
Flutter their silver wings and crow
To the watchful winds that kiss as they blow

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Round the air-cradle that swings so low
Down in the lap of the mother night.

Sleep, little baby, sleep, sleep, sleep,
Red is the moon in the night’s still deep,
And the wee baby stars are all folded and kissed

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In a luminous cradle of silver mist;
And if ever they waken the winds cry, Whist,
Sleep, little baby, sleep, sleep, sleep.

 



The Mother


     This poem was suggested by the following passage in Tyler’s Animism: “The pathetic German superstition that the dead mother’s coming back in the night to suckle the baby she has left on earth may be known by the hollow pressed down in the bed where she lay.”


I.


IT was April, blossoming spring,
They buried me, when the birds did sing;

Earth, in clammy wedging earth,
They banked my bed with a black, damp girth.

Under the damp and under the mould,

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I kenned my breasts were clammy and cold.

Out from the red beams, slanting and bright,
I kenned my cheeks were sunken and white.

I was a dream, and the world was a dream,
And yet I kenned all things that seem.  [Page 195]

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I was a dream, and the world was a dream,
But you cannot bury a red sunbeam.

For though in the under-grave’s doom-night
I lay all silent and stark and white,

Yet over my head I seemed to know

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The murmurous moods of wind and snow,

The snows that wasted, the winds that blew,
The rays that slanted, the clouds that drew

The water-ghosts up from the lakes below,
And the little flower-souls in earth that grow.

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Under earth, in the grave’s stark night,
I felt the stars and the moon’s pale light.

I felt the winds of ocean and land
That whispered the blossoms soft and bland.

Though they had buried me dark and low,

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My soul with the season’s seemed to grow.


II.


From throes of pain they buried me low,
For death had finished a mother’s woe.

But under the sod, in the grave’s dread doom,
I dreamed of my baby in glimmer and gloom.

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I dreamed of my babe, and I kenned that his rest
Was broken in wailings on my dead breast.

I dreamed that a rose-leaf hand did cling:
Oh, you cannot bury a mother in spring!  [Page 196]

When the winds are soft and the blossoms are red

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She could not sleep in her cold earth-bed.

I dreamed of my babe for a day and a night,
And then I rose in my graveclothes white.

I rose like a flower from my damp earth-bed
To the world of sorrowing overhead.

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Men would have called me a thing of harm,
But dreams of my babe made me rosy and warm.

I felt my breasts swell under my shroud;
No star shone white, no winds were loud;

But I stole me past the graveyard wall,

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For the voice of my baby seemed to call;

And I kenned me a voice, though my lips were dumb:
Hush, baby, hush! for mother is come.

I passed the streets to my husband’s home;
The chamber stairs in a dream I clomb;

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I heard the sound of each sleeper’s breath,
Light waves that break on the shores of death.

I listened a space at my chamber door,
Then stole like a moon-ray over its floor.

My babe was asleep on a stranger arm,

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“O baby, my baby, the grave is so warm,

“Though dark and so deep, for mother is there!
O come with me from the pain and care!  [Page 197]

“O come with me from the anguish of earth,
Where the bed is banked with a blossoming girth,

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“Where the pillow is soft and the rest is long,
And mother will croon you a slumber-song—

“A slumber-song that will charm your eyes
To a sleep that never in earth-song lies!

“The loves of earth your being can spare,

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But never the grave, for mother is there.”

I nestled him soft to my throbbing breast,
And stole me back to my long, long rest.

And here I lie with him under the stars,
Dead to earth, its peace and its wars;

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Dead to its hates, its hopes, and its harms,
So long as he cradles up soft in my arms.

And heaven may open its shimmering doors,
And saints make music on pearly floors,

And hell may yawn to its infinite sea,

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But they never can take my baby from me.

For so much a part of my soul he hath grown
That God doth know of it high on His throne.

And here I lie with him under the flowers
That sun-winds rock through the billowy hours,

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With the night-airs that steal from the murmuring sea,
Bringing sweet peace to my baby and me.  [Page 198]

 



On a Summer Shore


LONG years have gone, and yet it seems
     But scarce an hour ago,
I lay upon a moss-grown rock,
     And watched the ebb and flow
Of waters, where cool shades above

5

     Glassed in cool depths below.

You stood beside me sweet and fair,
     A basket on your arm,
Red-heaped with luscious fruit we’d picked
     Down at the old shore-farm;

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You stood and in the shore-wood made
     A picture glad and warm.

Like heaving pearl the blue bay rocked
     Against its limestone wall,
Far off in reeling dreams of blue

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     The heavens seemed to fall
About the world, and there you stood,
     Unconscious, queen of all.

From far-off fields the low of kine,
     Soft bird-notes, airy streams,

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That stole in here, far, broken notes
     Of all the day’s hushed dreams;
And you, one slender shaft of light,
     In all the world’s wide gleams.

We spoke no love, for I was shy,

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     And you were shyer then;
Mine was a boy’s faint heart, and yours
     Still outside of love’s ken;
But such sweet moments are full rare
     In barren years of men.  [Page 199]

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And often when the heart is worn
     And life grows sorrow-wise,
I dream again a blue, north bay,
     A gleam of summer skies;
And by my side a young girl stands

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     With heaven in her eyes.

You are a dream, a face, a wraith,
     You drift across my pain,
I lock you in my sacred past
     Where all love’s ghosts remain;

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But life hath nought for me so sweet
     As you can bring again.

 



Belated


THE year drifts sadly back this way,
     With autumn’s grief and pain;
But with the red leaf and the gold
     She ne’er will come again.

This world hath its weird beauteousness,

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     That youth in music stirs;
But time will ne’er bring back to earth
     The beauty that was hers.

You could not call a red leaf God’s
     If she were not God’s too;

10

A light fell on such eyes and lips
     Man never more will woo.

When her smile went the day’s went too,
     Night, when she closed her eyes,  [Page 200]
Lost half its glory. When she woke

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     Earth changed to paradise.

She looked so peaceful in her sleep
     When they laid her to her rest,
I could not help but think upon
     An infant at the breast.

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She looked so like to one who’d wake
     This side the break of dawn,
I grudged the very earth they heaped
     Her snow-like breast upon.

I hear her low voice calling soft,

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     Her footstep at the doors;
I wake up in the dead of night,
     And walk the wintry floors.

I see her croon her babe to sleep,
     Athwart the moonlight now,

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Her wealth of golden hair that fell
     Across her gentle brow.

I often walk at death of day,
     Amid the sunset firs,
And dream the world will no more know

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     The beauty that was hers.

I wonder in some far-off state,
     If love can conquer death,
Will I know her and she know me,
     As when she drew life’s breath?

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And will she stand at some flame-gate,
     And wait and watch for me,  [Page 201]
And fall upon my breast and weep
     With joy my face to see?

And bring the little ones around

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     To climb to father’s arms;
While her sweet face, the face of yore,
     To mother-beauty warms?

And we go, laughing, weeping, through
     Some gate of crystal dome,

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While love grows godlike more and more,
     To greet the wanderer home.

 



Departure


OLD house now ruined, wrecked and grey,
     Home once enshrined of love’s delight
And all glad promise of the May,
     Now hushed in shades of wintry night,—

Once garment of a thousand loves,

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     Now but a shroud of glooming stone,—
While sad October moans and roves,
     Old house, old house, we are alone!

We are alone; yea, you and I,
     Who dreamed old summers in their prime;

10

Now sad and late, to see them die
     Along this ruined verge of time.

Old rooms now empty, once so bright,—
     Staircases climbed of gladdening feet,
Dark windows erstwhile filled with light

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     Where now but rains of autumn beat:—  [Page 202]

Where now but lorn months call and call,
     And sea and gust and night complain,—
With ghost-boughs shadowing on the wall,
     Or dead vines knocking at the pane.

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Old place, whose ceilings, walls and floors
     Still redolent of love and May,
Once more, once more I leave your doors,
     Into the night I take my way.

Huge yawning hearths, once flaming bright

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     On many a well-loved face and form
Long gathered out unto the night
     To meet the vastness and the storm,—

Into the night; where I, too, go,
     Beyond your sheltering walls and doors;

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Where death’s October drives his woe
     Over a thousand midnight moors,

Beyond your sheltering, where I beat
     To sleep with stars of dark o’ergleamed,
Or breast the night of moan and sleet

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     To meet that morn a world hath dreamed.

Hath dreamed?  Hope-hungering heart hath read,
     And caroled morning-lifted lark!
Yea, back of all this muffled dread
     Perchance some splendor rifts the dark.

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Yea, though no magic reach its gleams,
     Nor heart of doubting prove it true,
Old house, beloved, of my dead dreams,
     While I go forth from love and you.  [Page 203]

 



Her Look


TIME may set his fingers there,
     Fix the smiles that curve about
Her winsome mouth, and touch her hair,
     Put the curves of youth to rout;
But the “something” God put there,

5

     That which drew me to her first,
Not the imps of pain and care,
     Not all sorrow’s fiends accurst,
Can kill the look that God put there.

Something beautiful and rare,

10

     Nothing common can destroy;
Not all the leaden load of care,
     Not all the dross of earth’s alloy;
Better than all fame or gold,
     True as only God’s own truth,

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It is something all hearts hold
     Who have loved once in their youth.

That sweet look her face doth hold
     Thus will ever be to me;
Joy may all her pinions fold,

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     Care may come and misery;
Through the days of murk and shine,
     Though the roads be foul or fair,
I will see through love’s glad eyne
     That sweet look that God put there.  [Page 204]

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